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Meet 6 Black Astronauts Who Were 'Hidden Figures' Until Now

There’s much to be said about the notion that Black History Month shouldn’t just be during the month of February, but every month. Certainly, there is no shortage of historical figures that deserve to get their flowers, and that’s difficult to do over the course of 28 (and if we’re lucky, 29) days. There are far too few Black STEM figures from history that have gotten their due in modern history books. The hit film, “Hidden Figures,” starring Kevin Costner and Taraji P. Henson, gave us a glimpse into how sidelined Black men and women were in the world of rocket science. That’s why these six Black astronauts — some of whom you may have never heard of prior to today — deserve their due, too. Guion Bluford Jr., Ph.D. Courtesy Photo He was the first African American, and the second person of African descent, to go into space. However, according to NASA, Dr. Guion Bluford Jr. got his start in the United States Air Force before becoming an astronaut and even remained in active service...

Meet the Black Aerospace Scientist Helping Astronauts Combat Space Sickness

NASA aerospace research psycho-physiologist Dr. Patricia S. Cowings designed a program to help astronauts combat space sickness, according to Face2Face Africa . Born in Bronx, New York, Cowings, 71, dedicated her 34-year career at NASA to helping spacemen and women better adapt to outer space conditions by studying the effects of gravity on human physiology and performance. According to NASA, approximately half of the crew experience a range of symptoms of motion sickness during space travel, including mild forms of nausea or dizziness to severe malaise and vomiting. As a result of her research efforts, NASA patented Autogenic Feedback Training Exercise (AFTE), a six-hour procedure used to train people to control 24 physiological functions—breathing, heart rate, sweating, etc. — to reduce symptoms of motion sickness. During training, she teaches a subject to mentally evoke a sensation, like muscle relaxation, to bring about desired physiological changes, says NASA . “Astronauts are...

Niki McGloster

Jul 23, 2020